Light voter turnout expected in Westmoreland, Fayette counties
Voter turnout for Tuesday’s gubernatorial election could be the lowest in years, according to county elections officials.
Westmoreland County Elections Bureau Director Jim Montini said slightly more than 40 percent of the county’s 238,550 registered voters are predicted to go to the polls to elect a governor, representatives in Congress and state legislators.
Voter turnout in Westmoreland County was 53 percent for gubernatorial elections in 2006 and 2010.
“I just don’t see the same level of interest,” Montini said Monday.
Fifteen percent of the county’s registered voters cast ballots in the May primary.
In Westmoreland County, there are few contested races.
Just 30 candidates appear on the ballots throughout Westmoreland County, Montini said.
Contested races include first-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, who is being challenged by Democrat Erin McClelland of Harrison. The district includes much of the northern and some eastern sections of Westmoreland County.
In state House races, Rep. Tim Krieger, R-Delmont, will square off against Democrat Donna McClelland of Greensburg; Rep. Ted Harhai is being challenged by Republican Tom Logan of Hempfield, and Rep. Eli Evankovich, R-Murrysville, faces Patrick Leyland, a Democrat from Allegheny Township.
Nearly $2 million has been spent in the hotly contested race for the 32nd state Senate seat between Democrat Deberah Kula and Republican Pat Stefano. The district includes all of Fayette and Somerset counties and part of Westmoreland County.
Another key race in Fayette County features Democrat A.J. Boni, who is pitted against Republican Ryan Warner for the state House seat in the 52nd District.
Turnout in Fayette County is projected to be 30 percent, according to Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser.
Blosser said the governor’s race likely won’t have much effect on turnout, especially as figures from exit polling are released throughout the day.
“They’ll figure it’s a done deal, with some of the forecasts coming out, and exit polls show a certain person is leading,” Blosser said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]. Liz Zemba contributed.